Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Next on my “World Heraldry 3D “list was Belarus. In this case I have decided to focus on the historical coat of arms and flag, rather than the ones used by current regime.  Belarus (Belarusian: Беларусь Russian:Беларусь, Белоруссия, Belarus', Belorussiya), officially the Republic ofBelarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe,bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno (Hrodna), Gomel (Homiel), Mogilev (Mahilyow) and Vitebsk (Vitsebsk). Over forty percent of its 207,600 square kilometres (80,200 sq mi) is forested, and its strongest economic sectors are agriculture and manufacturing.

Until the 20th century, the lands of modern-day Belarus belonged to several countries, including the Principality of Polotsk, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Russian Empire. In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, Belarus became a founding constituent republic of the Soviet Union and was renamed as the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (BSSR). The borders of Belarus took their modern shape in 1939 when some lands of the Second Polish Republic were incorporated into it after the Soviet invasion of Poland. The nation and its territory were devastated in World War II, during which Belarus lost about a third of its population and more than half of its economic resources. The republic was redeveloped in the post-war years. In 1945 the Belorussian SSR became a founding member of the United Nations, along with the Soviet Union and the Ukrainian SSR.

The parliament of the republic declared the sovereignty of Belarus on 27 July 1990, and during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Belarus declared independence on 25 August 1991. Alexander Lukashenko has been the country's president since 1994. Despite objections from Western governments, Lukashenko has continued Soviet-era policies, such as state ownership of the economy. According to some organizations and countries, elections have been unfair, and political opponents have been violently suppressed. In 2000, Belarus and Russia signed a treaty for greater cooperation, with some hints of forming a Union State.
Over 70% of Belarus's population of 9.49 million reside in the urban areas. More than 80% of the population are ethnic Belarusians, with sizable minorities of Russians, Poles and Ukrainians. Since a referendum in 1995, the country has had two official languages: Belarusian and Russian. The Constitution of Belarus does not declare an official religion, although the primary religion in the country is Russian Orthodox Christianity. The second most popular, Roman Catholicism, has a much smaller following, but both Orthodox and Catholic Christmas and Easter are celebrated as national holidays. Belarus also has the highest Human Development Index among members of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
The Armed Forces of Belarus have three branches: the Army, the Air Force, and the Ministry of Defense joint staff. Colonel-General Leonid Maltsev heads the Ministry of Defense, and Alexander Lukashenko (as president) serves as Commander-in-Chief. The Armed Forces were formed in 1992 using parts of the former Soviet Armed Forces on the new republic's territory. The transformation of the ex-Soviet forces into the Armed Forces of Belarus, which was completed in 1997, reduced the number of its soldiers by 30,000 and restructured its leadership and military formations.

Most of Belarus's service members are conscripts, who serve for 12 months if they have higher education or 18 months if they do not. However, demographic decreases in the Belarusians of conscription age have increased the importance of contract soldiers, who numbered 12,000 as of 2001. In 2005, about 1.4% of Belarus's gross domestic product was devoted to military expenditures. Belarus has not expressed a desire to join NATO but has participated in the Individual Partnership Program since 1997, and Belarus provides refueling and airspace support for the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. Belarus first began to cooperate with NATO upon signing documents to participate in their Partnership for Peace Program in 1995. However, Belarus cannot join NATO because it is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Tensions between NATO and Belarus reached a peak after the March 2006 presidential election in Belarus.

Belarus is divided into six regions (Belarusian: вобласць, Russian: область), which are named after the cities that serve as their administrative centers. Each region has a provincial legislative authority, called a region council (Belarusian: абласны Савет Дэпутатаў, Russian: областной Совет Депутатов), which is elected by its residents, and a provincial executive authority called a region administration (Belarusian: абласны выканаўчы камітэт, Russian: областной исполнительный комитет), whose chairman is appointed by the president. Regions are further subdivided into raions, commonly translated as districts or regions (Belarusian: раён, Russian: район)

The Pahonia Belarusian: Паго́ня, transliteration: Pahonya, Lithuanian: Vytis, Pagaunė, (translated as Chaser) is a historical symbol of Grand Duchy of Lithuania, of which the eastern part later became known as Belarus. Pahonia was the official state symbol of the Belarusian National Republic in 1918 and the official coat of arms of Belarus from 1991 to 1995. The heraldic shield features a red field with an armored knight on a white (silver) horse holding a silver sword in his right hand above his head. A silver shield hangs on the left shoulder of the charging knight, and a golden (yellow) Patriarchal cross appears on the shield.

As always, the Belarus“Belarus 3D” designs are available on a limited number of selected hi quality products via my “World Heraldry” galleries at Zazzle. You may simply follow the direct links in the article to navigate to the corresponding galleries. I will also make my designs available free of charge for non-commercial use to any government and military officials of the corresponding countries, as well as for non-commercial and personal use, such as school projects, presentations, forum avatars to businesses and individuals.

The above information provided in part by Wikipedia, The Heraldry Society, Global Security, and official websites of the above-mentioned countries. 

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